Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
THE RE-EMERGENCE OF EGGS IN OUR DIET
By Mujahid Masood, PhD
Prior research indicated that high blood cholesterol was associated with heart disease. Further research pointed out an emerging role of dietary fat and cholesterol and their effect on blood cholesterol levels, which led to recommendations to restrict dietary cholesterol to 300 mg/day. As eggs were a source of dietary cholesterol and were eaten frequently solely as eggs or in various food products, it was recommended that egg intake should be restricted to 3 eggs/week. Epidemiologic and population studies conducted with consideration of other dietary constituents, caloric intake, physical exercise and healthy behavior found no difference in heart disease risk between individuals eating 3 eggs/week or those that ate more than 3 eggs/week. With the growing acknowledgement of the fact that health derives from an overall pattern of diet rather than from the avoidance of a specific food, the focus has shifted from avoidance of particular foods to more holistic healthy eating patterns. As information about public health and nutrition science progresses and is disseminated in the general population it will affect consumers' attitudes towards food and diet and this attitude will influence the food industry and change the direction of food product development.
A number of states have introduced legislation to ban or limit soda and junk food sales in public schools. Connecticut lawmakers are about to introduce legislation banning soft drink sales in all elementary, middle and high schools throughout the state, except for some limited sales of diet soda and sports drinks in high schools. While this isn't expected to solve the problem of obesity, lawmakers believe it is a step in the right direction. (Reported in MSNBC.com on May 23, 2005.)
Food companies are trying new marketing methods in an effort to entice people, paricularly children, to eat more fruits and vegetables. Some of the items unveiled at the Food Marketing Institute show in Chicago, USA include half-cup serving packages of sliced oranges, apples or pineapples with pictures of kids on them and 8 oz. cups of water packed celery and carrots. These items provide convenient snacks that can be sold in vending machines, in school cafeterias or other convenient locations. (Reported in CNN.com on May 2, 2005.)
A new study published in the European medical journal Human Reproduction suggests that second hand smoke can reduce women's fertility. The study was conducted among 225 women seeking fertility treatment and showed the pregnancy rate for women who smoked and women who didn't smoke but lived with a smoker was essentially the same and lower than that for women who neither smoked nor lived with a smoker. While further studies are needed, it may be best to avoid second hand smoke, especially if you are seeking fertility treatment. (Reported in MSNBC.com on May 25, 2005.)
Cheese making takes advantage of the coagulation of milk to give curd, which is processed into cheese. Curd can be obtained using various salts, acids, and enzymes, however their use can lead to different tasting cheese. The use of enzymes is frequently the preferred method of obtaining curd. Enzyme coagulants are produced from animal, vegetable, bacterial and fungal sources. Traditionally the natural animal enzyme "rennet" obtained from the stomach of a mammal (calf, lamb, buffalo, pig, etc.) was used to make cheese. Calf rennet is regarded as the most important rennet for cheese making and is considered the gold standard against which other rennet is assessed. The enzyme chymosin specifically cleaves the milk protein "kappa-casein" and thus leads to curd formation from milk.
Rennet can also be obtained from microbes and fungi. A few of the microorganisms used as a source of coagulants are Bacillus polymyxa, Mucor miehei, Mucor pusillus and E. parasitica. Improved purification procedures are used to remove unwanted material from these coagulants. In addition to microbial rennet, vegetables can also be used to obtain rennet. Earlier vegetable enzyme rennet was obtained from fig trees, paw paw, pineapple, and castor oil seeds. Plants that coagulate milk through non-enzyme means are marjoram, mint, and rosemary.
Advances in genetic engineering have made it possible to transfer the gene for expression of prochymosin from the calf stomach to a range of host microorganisms, allowing vast quantities of chymosin to be produced through fermentation. The recombinant enzyme is purified to a high level and is then used for cheese making. This recombinant enzyme has been found to be as efficient and reliable as the calf rennet and is an important alternative to calf rennet. The structure of the recombinant enzyme has also been found to be almost identical to calf rennet and can be used in all types of cheese manufacture. In addition, the shortage of calf rennet is overcome through the availability of the recombinant enzyme chymosin, which is available in the market, is not objectionable for vegetarians, and can be used in accordance with religious dietary regulations.